The fashion world is filled with Jewish designers, from Diane Von Furstenburg to Zac Posen to Ralph Lauren. Can a man such as Galliano who works in such an industry really be so staunchly anti-Semitic? Of course he can (many friendships between Jews and non-Jews in pre-Holocaust Europe didn’t affect whether or not, in the end, numerous Jews were betrayed). And I also believe that Galliano should be punished, and severely at that. But not to the point where the person gets completely destroyed.
By skewering someone in the media so strongly, we may be doing a disservice. While it is understandable that anti-Semitic language cannot and should not be tolerated, the astonishing amount of media coverage may have only fueled anti-Semitic rumors that the Jewish people are all-powerful, much more so than the “average minority.”
While Galliano absolutely deserved to be fired, perhaps we should have looked upon this event with pity, and not outrage: the drunken ramblings of a man who caused his own fall from grace. And perhaps next time, a more nuanced campaign should be waged. Although we can never accommodate for anti-Semitism, we should instead try to educate, while still expressing condemnation for such actions.
Yael Miller is a graduate student at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies.